Most everyone has spun in a circle and felt dizziness before. But what about those instances when dizziness occurs with seemingly no cause? Feeling constantly dizzy is often a symptom of an underlying condition, such as vertigo or a balance disorder.
An interworking system
There are a lot of parts of the body that work together to help people maintain balance. The eyes, brain, inner ear, and nerves in the feet and spine all collaborate to help people stay upright. But when there is something wrong with just one of these elements, people can experience dizziness and balance disorders.
Symptoms of vertigo
A balance disorder can cause a sense of spinning, lightheadedness, confusion, blurry vision, and a feeling of unsteadiness. This sensation of spinning is also called vertigo. Some of the most common conditions that are associated with vertigo include Meniere’s disease, migraines, head injuries, and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
Why your inner ear matters
Inside the ear is a complex system of bones and cartilages. In the inner ear, a network of fluid-filled canals helps to control balance. The fluid in these canals changes with movement, signaling to the brain whether the body is in balance or not.
Causes and treatments
A balance disorder can be caused by recurrent ear infections, certain medications, or calcium debris in the semicircular canals. Treatment options will depend on the underlying cause of vertigo or dizziness. Most often, treatment will include:
- Antibiotics or antifungal medication to get rid of infection
- Lifestyle changes, such as improving diet and quitting smoking
- Rehabilitation services to learn how to live well with a balance disorder
In some cases, patients may be treated through a repositioning therapy called the Epley maneuver. The goal of this treatment option is to move the head and chest so that the calcium particles in the ear are repositioned and don’t cause symptoms anymore.
Is surgery needed?
In some cases, patients may find that symptoms don’t improve with noninvasive treatments. When this happens, an ENT may recommend surgical intervention to stabilize and repair the inner ear. Surgery is not always necessary to successfully treat a balance disorder, and many people find that rehabilitative therapy can make living with a balance disorder very manageable.
Get help today
Balance disorders can interfere significantly with daily life, making driving, working, or exercising challenging, to name a few. People who feel dizzy frequently should consult with an ENT to find the underlying cause of the disorder and get treatment options.